Claude Makelele backs Paul Pogba to become one of the world’s best

by Leo Nieboer

Former Chelsea and France midfielder Claude Makelele believes that Paul Pogba has all the tools needed to emerge as one of the best players in the world.

The 24-year-old has made a blistering start to the season, claiming two goals and being named ‘Man of the Match’ for scintillating midfield displays against Swansea City and Leicester.

He has now joined up with the French national team for World Cup qualifiers at home against Netherlands and Luxembourg.

And Makelele, speaking ahead of France’s next two internationals, has made it clear that Pogba has what it takes to lead his national side to glory in Russia next summer.

“I think that now Pogba understands the responsibility that he has when with the national team,” he said. “I told him when I met him that he can take on the responsibility [of helping France win honours] because he is a great player. He has everything.

“He is tall, with great technique, he can score goals, he gets assists – he has everything. He shouldn’t be scared and he should just do the job.”

“I am happy that the French national team has a lot of good players. I think in the future the national team will be better because they have so many young players now.

“These young players need to understand that when you wear the shirt of the national team that you need to die for this shirt. In my generation, everyone was dying for the shirt. You need to understand this.

“When you wear this shirt, you have the whole country behind you. The players need to understand that. I think when they understand that, then they will win the World Cup again.”

The looming prospect of a World Cup places extra importance on Pogba’s campaign with Man United this season. Following a year that saw him grow with every game in a red shirt he is now ready to inflict damage, fully settled in his role and emboldened by the presence of Nemanja Matic. There is a clear spring in his step. He has explored the pitch with greater freedom over the last few weeks and it has reaped devastating results.

And he will want to assert himself not just at the heart of United’s midfield, but indeed at the core of a French side that could go all the way in Russia over the next nine months.

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